No Such Thing as Closure

I often wonder who the “expert” was who invented the concept of “closure”.  I’m sure whoever it was had never had a loss any greater than a toenail.

Of course, it sounds like a great concept, an end to our grief or loss, but the truth is, it’s a fallacy that sets people up for inevitable disappointment when they are unable to obtainable the elusive “closure” they are seeking.

That’s not to say that we will walk in deep grief for the rest of our lives, or that we can’t experience laughter and joy. In fact, it’s the opposite. However, expecting someone to close the door on a deep loss is cruel and insensitive.

Those who support capital punishment go so far as to promise that if it were reinstated, there would be closure for the families of the victims.  That’s a very seductive argument for those who are in these situations, but it’s unrealistic and something about which to be very cautious.

I admit that when David Bagshaw and another inmate were shot in prison for attempting to kill another prisoner, I was disappointed that it was the other male and not David who succumbed to his wounds.   We would never have to attend a parole hearing, never have to worry about when he gets out, never again hear about all the passes and other things about which we receive notification, but that wasn’t the case.  Would there be fewer reminders? Yes.  Might it prevent him from hurting someone else in the future? Perhaps—but would it have brought us closure? …Absolutely not.

But this isn’t meant to be a debate about the death penalty.

For me, closure around Stefanie’s death will only come once I die.  She is not something I can just put in a box on the shelf and scratch off my list of things now dealt with.  She is my child, my heart, my very breath and I need her to be alive in my life.  I wouldn’t grieve so acutely if I hadn’t loved her so intensely and for that I can only be grateful.

The dictionary describes closure as “the state of experiencing an emotional conclusion to a difficult life event”.

It’s how we deal with grief that will define our futures.  Searching and waiting endlessly for some fictitious finality can only leave us empty and missing whatever life we have left for ourselves.

When I remember Stefanie, I swell with love and pride because of who she was.  At the same time I feel a deep sadness for all that was to come that can no longer be.   There can never be any closure, nor would I want there to be, for the simple reason that my love for her will never die.

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7 Responses to No Such Thing as Closure

  1. Paul McFadden says:

    Closure there is no closure for one who has lost a loved one through a violent crime or for any reason for that matter. After my son was murdered the only closure I had was that the only connection between my ex was gone my beloved son… I put closure on any connection I had left to my ex Dawn Eckert!

    When they talk about closure (Usually people within the Justice Department)they have no idea………. There will never be closure for me! I often think I wish my sons killer would suffer the same violent death he gave my son but a man told me my wish should be for him to live a LONG life so that he will suffer a long time before he has to answer for taking a life! Not just a life but all the grand children our loved ones would of given us along with the good times .. I’m not so sure there will be closure when I die! My love for my Nathaniel is eternal! He surely was a gift from God!

    • patriciahung says:

      Paul, I think most people feel the same way about “closure”. As far as those convicted of murder living or not living a long life, I too am of two minds. I’m thankful I don’t have to make that decision.
      Nathaniel was a gift from God and I have no doubt he’s doing much better than the rest of us!

  2. SadMama says:

    Beautifully expressed.

  3. Sandi Ellis says:

    You brought me to tears again!! It was a great read! I agree with you that there is no such thing as closure.

    Sandi

  4. brenda says:

    I know from experiance there is no closure when you have a child murdered. It has been five years since Andrew was murdered at the age of 20. It still feels like it happened only a short time ago. When you love your son this much and someone thinks they can take it all away how will you ever get closure?

  5. Eglyntine says:

    Thank you for your words. They hit me so deeply that I have not been able to hold back the tears for a while now. I am deeply sorry for your loss and I know exactly what you are going through so I think that is why your words moved me so much. Ppl do not understand and I pray to God that they NEVER understand fully what happens to you when someone you love has been ripped away from you so quickly and brutally. They innately want to make everything all better again and there is just no way to ever do that again. Nothing is ever going to be “all better again”.

    Like you said, there will be joy and laughter, hope and pleasant surprise but nothing will ever be the same again. Life will never have the same meaning again. No person on this earth can fix that ever. God can help us through it and even past it but even he cannot close that door or as you said, “Put them up on a shelf and tick it off the list”. There is no such thing as “closure” for something like this.

    Again, thank you for expressing your heart felt thoughts and bringing some peace of mind to others who feel the same as you do. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    E.

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